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Archive for October, 2002

A Week in Literary History

October 7th, 2002

Australian novelist Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982) is born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1935.

Thomas Keneally, b. October 7, 1935

keneallyA winner of many literary prizes, including one Booker and three short-listings, Keneally had been publishing for almost twenty years when his fourteenth novel, Schindler’s Ark, made him very famous in 1982. Later re-titled after the film Schindler’s List, this novel drew attention to Keneally’s back list and also to his subsequent twenty novels, his four plays, and his dozen-plus works of non-fiction.

Suggested Reading Novels Bring Larks and Heroes, 1967. Three Cheers for the Paraclete, 1968. A Dutiful Daugher, 1971. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, 1972. Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees, 1978. The Cut-Rate Kingdom, 1980. Schindler’s Ark, 1982. Woman of the Inner Sea, 1993. The Daughters of Mars, 2012. Non-fiction Outback, 1983. Australia: Beyond the Dreamtime, 1987. Memoirs from a Young Republic, 1995. Three Famines: Starvation and Politics, 2011. Memoirs Homebush Boy: A Memoir, 1995. Searching for Schindler: A Memoir, 2007.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 5th, 2002

French polymath Denis Diderot (Encyclopédie, 1751-72) is born in Langres, 1713.

Denis Diderot, b. October 5, 1713, d. 1784

Diderot’s famous Encyclopédie, the first volume of which was published in 1751, is an astonishing work, using the research of the leading thinkers and scientists of the day; it was the first, and one of the foremost, jewels of the Enlightenment. Despite persecution by church and crown, Diderot continued working on it until his death thirty years later and achieved a second, posthumous fame in the nineteenth century.

Suggested Reading L’Encyclopédie, 1751-1772.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 5th, 2002

In 1911, Irish journalist and novelist Flann O’Brien, a k a Myles na gCopaleen (The Third Policeman, 1967), is born Brian O’Nuallin in Strabane, County Tyrone.

Flann O’Brien, b. October 5, 1911, d. 1966

obrienflann.jpgO’Brien, born Brian O’Nolan, is probably the least-known of the twentieth century’s great writers in English. Despite the brilliance of his debut novel At Swim-Two-Birds, only four of his books were published in his lifetime. He compensated by writing one of Ireland’s funniest and most popular newspaper columns for many years. His books, though, are all in print now. Read the novels through and dabble joyously in the collected journalism; for humor and amazingly inventive language, there is simply no one to equal him.

Suggested Reading Novels At Swim-Two-Birds, 1939. The Poor Mouth, 1941. The Hard Life, 1961. The Dalkey Archive, 1964. The Third Policeman, 1967. Other The Best of Myles: A Selection from “Cruiskeen Lawn,” 1968. Stories and Plays, 1973. The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman and The Brother, 1976. Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn, 1976. The Hair of the Dogma, 1978. Myles Before Myles: A Selection of the Earlier Writings of Brian O’Nolan, 1988.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 5th, 2002

In 1894, American poet e.e. (Edward Estlin) cummings (is 5, 1926) is born in Cambridge, Mass.

E.E. Cummings, b. October 14, 1894, d. 1962

Cummings and the other writers like him (Salinger, Hesse) are for intelligent but young readers, and their works provide a real service: they give beginners something semi-substantial and “literary” to grow up from. A devotee of the inexplicable metaphor — “be unto love as rain is unto colour” — and the “poetically” erotic — “I’m thick in a hot young queen with / a twot with a twitch like kingdom come” — he’s just the ticket for bookish post-adolescents.

Suggested Reading Works Complete Poems, 1904-1961.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 3rd, 2002

American novelist Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel, 1929) is born in 1900 in Asheville, N.C. On his birthday years later he will write: “I am 33 years old and have nothing left, but I can begin again.” He will die at 37.

Thomas Wolfe, b. October 3, 1900, d. 1938

Wolfe was hailed from the beginning of his career for the poetry of his prose, but he was also assailed for his novels’ sprawl. It was often said that his editor Maxwell Perkins at Scribner’s was as responsible for Wolfe’s fame as the author himself. Robert Penn Warren thought that Wolfe created brilliant fragments from which “several fine novels might be written.” Wolfe’s early death from tuberculosis of the brain left a question mark at his career’s end.

Suggested Reading Novels Look Homeward, Angel, 1929. Of Time and the River, 1936. The Web and the Rock, 1939. You Can’t Go Home Again, 1940.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 3rd, 2002

In 1925, American novelist Gore Vidal (Burr, 1973) is born in West Point, N.Y.

vidal.jpgGore Vidal, b. October 3, 1925

In his twenty-nine novels, six plays, many screenplays, and innumerable essays and non-fiction works, Vidal has made himself witness not only to his own times, but to the whole of American history. Immensely learned, witty, and trenchant, he emerges as the widest ranging American writer of the second half of the twentieth century, and perhaps the most important.

Suggested Reading Novels Willilaw, 1946. The City and the Pillar, 1948. The Judgment of Paris, 1952. Messiah, 1954. Julian, 1964. Myra Breckinridge, 1968. Myron, 1975. Kalki, 1978. Creation, 1981. Duluth, 1983. Live from Golgotha, 1992. The Chronicles of Empire novels Washington, D.C., 1967. Burr, 1973. 1876, 1976. Lincoln, 1984. Empire, 1987. Hollywood, 1990. The Golden Age, 2000. Essays Rocking the Boat, 1962. Reflections Upon a Sinking Ship, 1969. Sex, Death and Money, 1969. Matters of Fact and of Fiction, 1977. Vidal in Venice, 1985. A View from the Diners Club, 1991. Screening History, 1992. The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, 1992. The American Presidency, 1998. Sexually Speaking: Collected Sex Writings, 1999. The Last Empire, 2001. Memoir Palimpsest: A Memoir, 1995. Drama Visit to a Small Planet, 1957. The Best Man, 1960.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 2nd, 2002

English playwright Harold Pinter (The Caretaker, 1959) is born in London, 1930.

Harold Pinter, b. October 10, 1930, d. 2008

pinter.pngBy the time of his death at the age of seventy-eight, Pinter was considered the best-known and most influential playwright in the world. He received every conceivable award, culminating in the Nobel Prize in 2005. He led a colorful life in the public eye as a director, screenwriter, and actor, and his plays, featuring thematic ambiguities and a masterly sense of timing, have been produced over and over.

Suggested Reading Drama The Birthday Party, 1957. The Caretaker, 1959. The Homecoming, 1964. Betrayal, 1978. A Kind of Alaska, 1982. Celebration, 2000.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 2nd, 2002

English novelist Graham Greene (Brighton Rock, 1938) is born in 1904 in Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire.

Graham Greene, b. October 2, 1904, d. 1991

greene.jpgGreene denigrated many of his books as “entertainments,” but he was so skilled a novelist that every book is memorable. Even non-Catholics will find The Power and the Glory and The End of the Affair captivating, but for our money, the two finest are The Heart of the Matter and the crime thriller to end all crime thrillers, Brighton Rock. One suspects that Greene’s books will still be read when people have begun to forget the pantheonized Joyce, Kafka, Proust, and Beckett.

Suggested Reading Novels The Man Within, 1929. Stamboul Train (The Orient Express), 1932. It’s a Battlefield, 1934. Brighton Rock, 1938. The Power and the Glory, 1940. The Ministry of Fear, 1943. The Heart of the Matter, 1948. The End of the Affair, 1951. The Quiet American, 1955. A Burnt-out Case, 1960. The Comedians, 1965. Travels with My Aunt, 1969. The Human Factor, 1978. Travel The Lawless Roads (Another Mexico), 1939. Autobiography A Sort of Life, 1971. Stories Collected Stories, 1973. Other Reflections, 1990.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 2nd, 2002

American poet Wallace Stevens (Harmonium, 1923) is born in Reading, Pa., 1879.

Wallace Stevens, b. October 2, 1879, d. 1955

stevenswallace2.pngSome call Stevens America’s greatest twentieth-century poet, but whatever his rank (and who’s ranking?) he stands alone, unique and inimitable. Through a long career he claimed for poetry a singular, elevated landscape of the imagination. Regardless of how elusive or allusive his verses, they exist, inviolate, on a plane of pure music, euphony, and gorgeous language.

Suggested Reading Poems Harmonium, 1923. Ideas of Order, 1935. Owl’s Clover, 1936. The Man with the Blue Guitar, 1937. Parts of a World, 1942. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, 1942. Esthétique du Mal, 1945. Transport to Summer, 1947. Three Academic Pieces, 1947. A Primitive Like an Orb, 1948. The Auroras of Autumn, 1952. Collected Poems, 1954. Other The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination, 1951. Opus Posthumous, 1957. Letters of Wallace Stevens, 1966. The Palm at the End of the Mind, 1975.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

October 2nd, 2002

In 1926, Welsh travel writer Jan Morris (Destinations, 1980) is born James Morris in Clevedon, Somerset.

Jan Morris, b. October 2, 1926

morrisjanOver a fifty-year career, Morris has written almost two dozen travel books, or rather books about foreign places, a dozen books of essays, three acclaimed volumes of history, two novels, a book of short stories, and four volumes of memoirs. All are informed by her lively wit and deep learning.

Suggested Reading Travel Coast to Coast, 1956. Venice, 1960. The Presence of Spain, 1964. Oxford, 1965. The Great Port: A Passage through New York, 1969. The Matter of Wales, 1984. Sydney, 1992. Essays The Road to Huddersfield: A Journey to Five Continents, 1963. Destinations, 1980. Among the Cities, 1985. O Canada! 1992. History The Pax Britanninca Trilogy, 1968-78. Memoirs Wales, the First Place, 1982. Herstory, 1999. Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere, 2001.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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